With creative influences that include Mos Def and Lauryn Hill, the 23-year-old Sampa The Great is quickly creating her own musical path, with lyrics centered on issues close to her heart. She found a love for hip-hop at an early age and views music as the language of the soul, transcending borders and acting as an agent for positive change. It’s a quality that is consistent throughout her debut release, The Great Mixtape, on which Sampa delicately entwines her poetry in each beat, playfully switching styles and engaging listeners on every level.
Born in Zambia, at a young age Sampa Tembo and her family decided to move to Botswana, where she was raised. Separating Sampa from her peers is the upbringing and life experiences that inform her lyrics. Once, a group of boys were set to perform a rap song at her primary school. She was intrigued by their performance and asked if she could join the group, the response: “You can’t rap with us, because you’re a girl.” From that moment forward she decided not only to be a great female artist, but a great artist period.